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Landmark Legend: Independent Life Building

1:22 PM, May 8, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's known as the Wells Fargo Center now but this downtown skyscraper has seen its share of name changes over its 38 year history.  I's iconic shape gives Jacksonville's skyline that distinctive look.

The 535 foot Independent Life building opened on July 15th, 1975. At the time, Independent Life was one of the biggest insurance companies in America.  The building was the tallest in all of Florida and south of Atlanta until 1981.  While laying the foundation remnants of an old locomotive was found.  At the dedication in 1975, President Nixon's daughter Julie was attendance.

Now local tours make a stop in a Jacksonville landmark that has seen four name changes in 18 years. The building signage has changed from Independent Life, to Accustaff in 1996, Modis in 1998 and finally Wells Fargo in 2011.  The bank occupies about 20 percent but Parkway Capital owns of the building.

"We're 90 percent occupied," said property manager Dan Frey of Parkway Capital.  He has been working in the building since it opened.

The two level underground parking garage is 24 feet below the river.  Occasional waterproofing has to be done when a bit of river water seeps into the garage.

37 floors up, on the roof, it's quite the view. Frey remembers when there were two 100 foot radio antennas on top of the building.  "About 5 or 6 years ago we took them down," he said.  Frey has also seen some big celebrations,  "Not only did they fire fireworks off the barges, they would fire fireworks off the top of this building."

There are a few original tenants still in the building.  The River Club is one of them.  The private club is on the 34th and 35th floors. Another original tenant is KPMG

Accounting, law firms and financial services companies are the majority of tenants. But the building is also home to Jacksonville's tallest 'Go Jaguars' sign. The Command Center has state of the art security and fire protection.  There's also a 350 seat auditorium on the second floor.

The name may have changed four times but One Independent Square remains a city landmark.





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